Like a slog through Rockland State Hospital, a journey through your port reveals many empty rooms for ever interesting detail to feast the eyes upon. There are a few bits that, like the bowling alley at Rockland, are worthy of consideration:
A competent portrait, nicely framed with an abundance of negative space. But most of your portfolio demonstrates a lack of technical skill and execution, model direction, or any sense of conceptual depth. On a technical level, this:
fails most terribly. It's clear that you're starting to experiment with artificial lighting, which is good! But it takes a lot of experimentation before a shot is worthy of going in a portfolio which is supposed to be getting models interested in shooting with you. The heavy shadows on her face, combined with the wrinkled white-sheet backdrop, place this clearly in the "amateurish experiment" category, not the "portfolio worthy" category. The model seems to be emoting "I'm taking off my underwear, with the tag prominently displayed (?), and I'm a bit bored." This:
is poorly lit, and you should have opened up more to blur out the distracting background. But the main thing it suffers from is poor model direction - her pose and expression don't tell us anything, and given her lack of meaningful emoting, it's unclear why she's hiking up her dress - does she see a tiger alongside the road and reckon the big cat might want to see her bum? We have no idea, since there's no clear intentionality on her part in pose or expression to indicate what might be going on. And this:
fails badly on a conceptual level. The model is doing her job well enough - the pose and expression are classic glamour. But what's the point of this shot? There are clear indications of "cowgirl" here, but looking at this, I'm wondering why this particular cowgirl decided to strip down to her panties and boots, lay in a pile of hay, and cover her breasts and panties with some hay before mugging for the camera. I'm not understanding - or buying into - the concept here. The lighting is pretty terrible as well.
Honestly, you're going to have a long course of treatment at Rockland before the superintendent will even consider a transfer. He wants your treatment plan to proceed as follows:
1) First and foremost, refine your technical chops. Read about and study lighting. Understand the use of DOF and when to use it.
2) Get some friends and shoot them for free before you hire another model. Make sure that you have your technical skills hammered down - and use this time to experiment with lighting and so on. It's not hard to find friends who are willing to play model; it doesn't matter if they have the right look, you're working on technical skills.
3) Sit down and plan out a shoot. Really put some work into coming up with concepts, and think about how to implement these concepts so they don't seem forced.
4) Hire an experienced model to work with on the shoot you've planned out. Be ready to go when she arrives - secure in the knowledge that you have a solid concept and the technical chops to pull it off.
In this way, you'll begin to get portfolio-ready images.
Like Middletown State Hospital, your port is small in size but high in quality. A lot of photographers and models here on MM could take a cue from the fact that you choose to carefully curate a small, but diverse, gallery of wonderful images that show what you can do without feeling the need to include sub-par or repetitive work just because you have image slots available. This:
is so masterfully posed on your part that it is able to overcome the cheesy faded-photograph processing that the photog applied to it - and that's saying a lot. The lines you make with your body work perfectly with the lines of the ottoman you're posing on against the simple background, and the ambiguity of the hair in your face lends an abstract beauty to the image.
For an artsy glamour shot with your face completely obscured, you sure manage to inject a lot of personality into this.
You pull off a perfect expression on this one; one is immediately drawn to your face amidst the sea of fire-orange and earthy green. Again, I wish the processing were a bit better, but you didn't do the processing.
Actually, there are a number of images in your port where the post is dodgy, but that doesn't really matter - as we can plainly see your talent shining through it. The only image that I think is of particular weakness is this one:
In contrast with most of your work, where you're an integral part of the scene, I feel like any model could pull off this very basic nude-in-nature scene. Additionally, the B&W conversion was so horribly done that in this case, it's not possible to look past the bad Photoshop - it looks like you have a weird rash or something, due to somebody playing with their sliders a bit too much.
But on the whole, your portfolio accomplishes exactly what you need it to - it shows you as a diverse and talented model capable of creating compelling work. And it does it without wasting a lot of space on dross. Kudos, keep it up, and when you get more high-caliber stuff, keep adding - and eventually a transfer to Buffalo may be on offer!
M Pandolfo Photography wrote: I grew up in CT and visited Norwich on several occasions in the 80's. I said VISITED. It's nice from afar but far from nice.
I never thought I would actually aspire to it for fear of going to Philadelphia. Best critique thread ever...have at it.
The State Board of Mental Health had a hard time deciding where to ship you off to, but in the end decided on Norwich State Hospital, as your schizophrenic port seems evenly split between lovely close-crop images and poor quality wide work. You do best when you're up close - take your avi, for example, or this:
which with a bit less JPEG artifaction and a bit more skin smoothing looks like it could be used in a piece of advertising copy. This too:
works well as a tight, glamorous piece that almost seems geared towards advertising, although the JPEG compression is an issue here too - don't compress so much! It's 2013; virtually nobody's using a 2600 baud modem any more!
When you go wider, though, you get into trouble.
Her dead, blank stare does nothing for me. The selective desaturation is just silly. This is way-overprocessed, and yet somehow you managed to forget to process the bit of background between her arm and her body. Delete!
This looks like it might be a snapshot of a girlfriend on vacation. The lighting sucks, the composition is bad, and her expression is just goofy. Delete!
The terrible corrective processing on the left side of her face is offensive, as is the crop at bottom left. This might be an adequate image if it didn't suffer from such obvious flaws, but since it does... Delete! Also, shitcan the images without models in them (the dog and the Allure shot). Those aren't going to make models want to work with them; use them on your personal portfolio site.
Really, in order to be considered for a transfer to a more prestigious asylum, the doctors suggest you follow one of two treatment regimens:
1) Stick to what you're good at, and keep taking up-close-and-personal detail shots; leave the wider lenses at home.
2) Practice working with the whole of a model - with all that entails, including posing and directing, and getting the lighting right on-scene instead of doctoring it up in Photoshop - and get some better full-body shots.
Like the mix of wonderfully photogenic and horribly dull buildings at Norwich State Hospital, your portfolio is all over the place in terms of quality and interest. You have some stunning work, none moreso than this panoramic shot:
that I wish wasn't restricted in viewing size by the ridiculous width requirements of this site. While perhaps a bit heavy on processing, it works regardless - the motion, expression, lighting, and pano format make a compelling work. This looks ready to go as a banner for an advertisement or some such. And this:
could do with a lot less obvious processing, but regardless, has a mood, a depth of character, and an abundance of texture that reminds me of Dorothea Lange's work during the dust bowl era. However, there are also some real albatrosses weighing down your port. Let's start with your avatar - it shouldn't be on MM, let alone your avatar! It has nothing to do with llamaing. Cool, you got a cover. Maybe put it in your profile if you feel obliged, but it's not going to get you any work shooting llamas. I don't have any of my covers up on this site because... none of them have anything to do with llamaing. Make sense? And then there are a number of Photoshop disasters, such as this:
It's hard to tell whether or not the source photos are any good, but I can certainly say that they stand out - not in a good way - for their overuse of halo and other processing effects. Additionally, there is a lot of work in your portfolio that is just mediocre or downright bad. Consider the best of your images, then consider this:
See the difference? This shot says nothing besides "I took photos of a naked girl in a bed without considering lighting, mood, or anything else really, but look - naked!" I chose the work "naked" specifically; the focus is on the unclothed woman, but she's not even doing anything interesting and is terribly lit. In general, you need to look through your port and take a peek at each photo - decide, "Is this among my best work?" and if not, let it go. Cut down to your best, shoot more, and then ask the superintendent if you could get a ride on over to Middletown or one of the other asylums higher up the food chain.
See, I told ya I wuz nutz . . . I shoot for such a diverse set of usages, it's hard not ta be a little wacked . . . thanks fer the look, and the appropriate "rest stop" . . . much continued success!!!!